That One Place Everyone is so Excited About: Disneyland

When my first child was old enough to understand words and look at pictures, I began showing her images of Hawaii and calling them Disneyland. I did this in hopes that when her peers and surrounding adults would inevitably begin celebrating and pushing this fabled “land”, she would be under the impression they loved Honolulu and that she would imagine herself there… not Anaheim. img_7173

Because I would rather spend all of my money taking my child to the North Shore than some manufactured place with people dressed up as cartoon characters. I figure both places are about as equally expensive (truth), so I might as well trick my children into making me happy.

As with most preconceived notions of parenting, my plan failed.


Upon realizing that in large part due to current proximity, my children and spouse would full-on demand a Disneyland visit, I full-on planned to send them along without me. Yes I love my family and truly enjoy watching them be happy, but I am not sure my being there to see it is worth $200.

Do you know how much prosciutto I can buy for $200?


I understand that the things I have typed so far, already qualify me for some sort of firing squad. I do not intend to be sacrilegious, seditious, or even traitorous, I just don’t want to spend $800 for my family to see someone dressed up as Snow White.

Everyone tells me it isn’t just that. But it is in fact also that.img_7204

Let me attempt to be objective about this. I will admit that:

The production value of everything they do is far above and beyond whatever “par” is.

The rides, especially roller coasters, are fun.

There is at any given time and in any given place, something to do or see.

The crowd management systems and procedures are surprisingly effective, and do in fact minimize the horrors of waiting forever behind hordes of everyone to do something fun for a brief moment.

The food while not being cheap, is not bad.

My wife and children loved the place almost more than they love me. They might strike the word almost. I added it to make myself feel better.img_7210

So, having admitted all of that let me list what Disney is not:

Near the beach.


An actual kingdom.

The Devil.


As good as Six Flags.


I have been to Paradise, and am sadly home.

Sketching at Waimea Bay

Just off Kamehameha Highway, about a half mile from Haleiwa, is a little dirt road.  If you take this dirt road you will find a two story home with more windows than walls.  We spent the past eight days renting the bottom floor, picking papaya, passion fruit, and doing our best to husk and open uncooperative coconuts.  We nearly burned through a full bag of charcoal and soaked through nearly every one of the 20 or so beach towels they provided.  All hail and my wife’s addiction to it.

Search for "Secret Garden" on Craigslist. One of the owners has great stories about driving the camera boat for the filming of LOST.

To know how it was could be explained most simply by the fact that while typing this, I am also browsing for jobs in Hawaii.

I'm pretty sure this is Heaven. I'm positive it's not Iowa.

 Myself and those with me, arrived on the island with a list of the top things we wanted to see and do while there.  Mine had written, somewhere just below surfing, a visit to the royal palace. 

I had recently read up on the somewhat underhanded way in which paradise became state and wanted to walk in the footsteps of those who played a role.  One trip to the beach and I forgot all those plans.  Then I remembered them, and chose to go to the beach once again, and again, and again once more.

New York and Tokyo had a sign, Philly did not.

 Haleiwa is above all else, a surf town.  When I married, my earthly possessions consisted of; a pickup, a mtn. bike, a snowboard, SCUBA gear, rugby cleats, a backpack and sleeping bag.  I would have traded them all for a surfboard.  Of course I had never surfed at the time, a hole in my resume that has persisted; till now.  Why did I wait so long?

Haleiwa version of an art gallery.

 I swallowed my pride, scheduled a lesson, rented the biggest board imaginable, and stood up on a wave.  My instructor was twice my age, had skin like leather, and a pair of shoulders like bowling balls.  I wanted to be her.  I’m now editing my job search to ensure plenty of time-off.

Best wall of vintage skateboards I have ever seen. Strong Current Surf Shop.

Mine was not the only list.  One of the true joys of Hawaii is that there in nothing to do that could be considered miserable.  No life sized cartoon characters or spinning tea-cups, no teenagers asking if you purchased a beach tag, and everyone took my money with a smile and “mahalo”.  Littlehammas 1.0 rode a horse, Littlehammas 2.0 saw a turtle, and Mrs.hammas snorkled, kayaked, saw a sunset, and went to the locale that is her namesake.  We  shopped, strolled Waikiki, did the hula, and even went to the Hukilau.  We went native and embraced our hauliness… or at least my hauliness?

Littlehammas 1.0 and Scarlet.


Turtles trying to get a tan.
LAdies and gentlemen, this is what happy looks like.
Mrs.hammas owns this place.


Mrs.hammas has had many brilliant ideas in her time, like looking for lodging on Craigslist, but her most Nobel worthy idea was inviting the Grandhammases along.  Now some may shirk at the idea of in-laws but these ones, freshly returned from 18 months in Samoa, are not the normal grey hairs.  Sure they babysat and helped wash dishes like most would, but they also snorkeled with a monk seal, hiked to waterfall, and kayaked.  They had been to the islands before but took it easy for our sake; skipping the parasailing and shark diving they did on previous trips.

The Grandhammases doing what they do.


The Mrs. and her Mother-in-law.


Opa holding court at sunset.

I have been known to suffer from an incurable wanderlust and inability to be satisfied with just one hobby.  Perhaps I have found the cure.

Waimea Bay and crazy women.
What was once the Hukilau, is now the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Strangely enough, seeing this made me want to scrum and fai kava.
1.0's version of the haka.
All we have left are sweet dreams.